Migrant workers from Central Asia could be used to destabilize border, Poland says

WARSAW, Poland — The Polish foreign minister said Wednesday he believed Belarus was planning to use migrant workers from neighboring Afghanistan and Central Asian states as pawns in a dispute with Ukraine.

“The personnel from these countries will be sent to Ukraine and will serve as basing grounds for those who want to destabilize our border,” Jacek Czaputowicz told parliament Wednesday.

Asked whether the migrants would work for free in Belarus or be put to work as paid agents, Czaputowicz said he was not familiar with the situation.

Poland and Ukraine have been in conflict over the disputed city of Chernivtsi. In early 2018, Poland demanded that Ukraine ensure the safety of its citizens, notably by taking back 7,000 Moldovan citizens who crossed the border without proper permits.

The Poles have alleged a Belarusian involvement in the migration crisis and lodged a complaint with the U.N. about the possible collusion of migration agencies. Belarus has repeatedly denied any link to the migration crisis.

“I’m not sure that those Polish officials who are wagging their finger at Belarus are being honest,” Czaputowicz said.

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